Catholic couple blocked from fostering children for rejecting ‘LGBTQIA’ ideology win first court battle – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — A Massachusetts couple who were prevented from becoming foster parents because of their adherence to Catholic teaching and their faith-based opposition to LGBT ideology and can move forward with their lawsuit after a federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss their case.

In his court order, the judge wrote that the decision of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) caused Mike and Kitty Burke to face a “fundamental dilemma in this case: they could renounce their religious beliefs and receive a foster license, or they could adhere to those beliefs and forfeit the license,” the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) reported.

“This is a major win that is likely to have significant implications for Christian families in the Commonwealth and beyond,” wrote attorney Sam Whiting of MFI.

The Burkes, a Catholic couple who have struggled with infertility, applied to the DCF foster care program in 2022. They “underwent hours of training” and were recommended by their instructor for “positive contributions in the class,” according to a press release from Becket law firm.

During home interviews, the couple “emphasized their willingness to foster children from diverse backgrounds and with special needs” but “were troubled that much of the questions centered on their Catholic views on sexual orientation, marriage, and gender dysphoria,” the release continues, noting that the Burkes stressed that they “would love and accept any child, no matter the child’s future sexual orientation or struggles with gender identity.” 

According to the lawsuit, interviewers with the DCF recognized the “family’s strengths, this including their willingness to parent a child w/moderately significant medical, mental health and behavioral needs” and that the couple “really seem to understand adoption/foster care.” 

However, the “one reason… given for [the] denial” was the assertion that the Burkes “would not be affirming to a child who identified as LGBTQIA.” The author of the couple’s license study described them as “lovely people” but ultimately decided that “their faith is not supportive, and neither are they.” 

“After months of interviews and training, and after years of heartbreak, we were on the verge of finally becoming parents,” the couple said. “We were absolutely devastated to learn that Massachusetts would rather children sleep in the hallways of hospitals than let us welcome children in need into our home.” 

“Massachusetts cannot exclude religious couples like the Burkes from fostering because they are religious, nor can they punish qualified families for their deeply held religious beliefs. If this can happen to the Burkes, it can happen to loving, qualified foster families of diverse faiths across Massachusetts,” wrote Becket.

The complaint makes clear that the couple stands by their faith-inspired beliefs “that all children should be loved and supported, and they would never reject a child placed in their home.” Additionally, the document specifies their belief “that children should not undergo procedures that attempt to change their God-given sex, and they uphold Catholic beliefs about marriage and sexuality.” 

The lawsuit invokes the First and Fourteenth Amendments, which “require Defendants to cease discriminating against Plaintiffs and those who share Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs on the basis of their religious beliefs, exercise, and expression.”

In similar cases, lawsuits were recently filed by two Christian families in Vermont who had their licenses revoked because of their faith-informed views on human sexuality, according to their complaints. 

Vermont foster care state licensing rules stipulate that “all foster parents are prohibited from engaging in any form” of so-called “discrimination” against foster children based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” They must specifically “support children in wearing” any clothing affirming a presumed “gender identity.”

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